Changing lives through coffee

Ryan Lee, Staff member

John Krause the founder of Big House Beans has overcome many obstacles in his life to finally find his passion for coffee and spread his story of redemption over the cards he was dealt at a young age.

Growing up, Krause had a rough childhood with many challenges that would shape how he lived his life for the next 30 years.

At age 4, he survived a motorcycle accident with only a few scrapes while his father died from severe injuries.

He then lived with his grandmother who would take care of him, but according to him never having had a male role model or an example of a stable relationship at home made him very destructive at a young age.

By the age of 12 he started drinking and doing drugs to try and numb the pain that he had been feeling his whole life.

At 16 he had his first child, who he would not see again for 12 years while in and out of prison.

In prison he found God. In doing so he changed his views of the world and of wanting to better himself by, “praying and asking him what to do,” he said.

After getting out of prison and living in a transitional home he joined a local church where he trusted that God had a plan for him.

At the church is where he met Ben Joyce who helped him find his love for coffee.

Every Saturday morning they would roast coffee in front of Joyce’s home, creating clouds of smoke from the roaster and listen to the turning of the beans, which always made him excited to try the first cup.

Roasting coffee and the culture around it grew his passion for coffee. “I couldn’t justify spending 40,000 dollars on a roaster for fun,” Krause said, so he made it into a business.

This would be his second business venture after turning over a new leaf. The first business he started was collecting and recycling used oil from restaurants.

He says that he learned the basics of how to run a business, but wanted to get into the business of coffee so he sold his recycling business and started Big House Beans in 2014.

During this time of rebuilding himself he also reconnected with his family.

He now has custody of three children from different mothers, so he is trying to create the family home he never had.

“Every day I try to better myself as a father and a leader,” he says.

Big House Beans’ mission is to “empower individuals through unconditional love and second chances,” as well as “caffeinate and embrace our community through every bag of beans.”

Big House Beans is known for giving second chances to those coming out of prison, but also to those who need help to “break barriers,” said Krause.

It doesn’t matter what sexual orientation or where they’re from, Krause wants to help his community grow.

He has spoken about his life to help others succeed in theirs. “I want to share my story to inspire others,” said Krause.

With almost four years in the coffee roasting business he says he has helped about a dozen people in need of a second chance and those who love coffee with a passion.

Big House Beans has been so successful they will also be opening a cafe in Brentwood next month at 1155 2nd St.